Ideas & Issues

A Debt Ceiling Playlist: 5 Songs To Push Your Mind To The Brink

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (left), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (center), and Speaker of the House John Boehner are three key lawmakers in the government shut down and debt ceiling crisis. i i

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (left), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (center), and Speaker of the House John Boehner are three key lawmakers in the government shut down and debt ceiling crisis. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (left), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (center), and Speaker of the House John Boehner are three key lawmakers in the government shut down and debt ceiling crisis.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (left), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (center), and Speaker of the House John Boehner are three key lawmakers in the government shut down and debt ceiling crisis.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Late yesterday afternoon, once it looked certain we would dodge financial cataclysm, another wave of emotions rolled through. Although I'm glad we narrowly dodged a crisis, I am still frustrated. Rather than crack another pencil in two or aim a few more mental daggers at Capitol Hill, I've funneled five strong feelings into a music playlist — my five stages of congressional outrage, as it were.

Got any songs to soundtrack your shame, sorrow, relief or agitation? Let us know.

A Debt Ceiling Playlist: 5 Songs To Bring Your Peace Of Mind To The Brink

  • Tension Building (Sigur Ros: 'Festival')

    YouTube

    There's no song that quite mirrors the intensity of the buildup to the debt ceiling cliff as "Festival" by the Icelandic band Sigur Ros. After just 8 minutes, you feel like you've been rolled through the wringer, left breathless — and not quite free from danger.

  • Pulling Back From The Brink (Marion Williams: 'It is Well')

    YouTube

    Near the end of this live performance from 1962, the incomparable gospel singer Marion Williams pushes her voice to its very limits — and then takes it one step farther. As she shakes and growls with emotion, clearly at the edge of the cliff, she quickly pivots 180 degrees to end the song on a sweet, soft note.

  • Unutterable Despair (Shostakovich 'Largo' from Symphony No. 5)

    YouTube

    Sometimes thought of as a lament for the Soviet people, Shostakovich's 'Largo' from his 1937 Fifth Symphony, cast in thick clouds of gray, traces downtrodden lives and dashed hopes.

  • Deranged Frenzy (Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1 with Sviatoslav Richter)

    YouTube

    No one can play the closing pages of this Prokofiev concerto with the delirious abandon of Sviatoslav Richter. If you can't wait for the music to reach its final ecstatic mayhem, cue the video to about 12:45 and be amazed at the (precise) finger-twisting chaos.

  • Anger (Motörhead: 'Shoot You in the Back')

    YouTube

    Let's face it. Many people in this country are ashamed and angry. The British metal veterans Motörhead take a page from Western movies where the good, bad and ugly routinely get ambushed from behind with the sting of a bullet.

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